Battle Of Britain,The: Myth And Reality

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9780141018300: Battle Of Britain,The: Myth And Reality

From the award-winning author of The Dictators, Richard Overy's The Battle of Britain: Myth and Reality is the best introduction available to a defining moment in British history. The extraordinary struggle between British and German air forces in 1940 was one of the pivotal events of the Second World War. How close did Britain really come to invasion during this time? What were Hitler and Churchill's motives? And what was the battle's real effect on the outcome of the war? 'It is harder to imagine a sounder and more succinct account of the Battle of Britain'
  Max Hastings, Evening Standard 'No individual British victory after Trafalgar was more decisive in challenging the course of a major war than the Battle of Britain ... the best historical analysis in readable form which has yet appeared on this prime subject'
  Noble Frankland, The Times Literary Supplement 'The Battle of Britain is hard to beat'
  Saul David, Sunday Telegraph 'Exemplary ... a compelling account'
  Boyd Tonkin, Independent 'Succeeds brilliantly ... along the way a lot of myths bite the dust'
  Time 'A captivating and brilliant analysis of the fragile circumstances of Britain's victory'
  Observer Richard Overy has spent much of his distinguished career studying the intellectual, social and military ideas that shaped the cataclysm of the Second World War, particularly in his books 1939 - Countdown to War, Why the Allies Won, Russia's War and The Morbid Age. Overy's The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia won the Wolfson Prize for History and the Hessell Tiltman Prize.

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Review:

The Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill famously remarked, was the "finest hour" of the Royal Air Force, which battled Hitler's Luftwaffe in the skies above England for a few tense weeks. That storied episode, which historian Richard Overy deems a stalemate rather than a decisive triumph, has been layered with legends, one being that the RAF's determined resistance was the key factor in repelling an impending Nazi invasion. It now appears that that was never a real possibility. Another legend was that the RAF was badly outnumbered and outgunned. In fact, as Overy details, the German and British air forces were fairly evenly matched, and the RAF sustained fewer losses than it delivered.

Overy's slender, well-written study of the Battle of Britain celebrates the very real accomplishments of the RAF and, its revisionism aside, acknowledges that the Battle of Britain was a true turning point in the history of World War II. Overy holds that one of its most important results was to lead influential Americans to urge that the United States take Britain's side, a fact that would soon be realized. More important, though, the Battle of Britain kept England in the war at a time when many politicians and citizens sought some accommodation with the Nazi regime. It galvanized popular opposition to Hitler, replacing uncertainties and disagreements with "a greater sense of purpose and a more united people." --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Richard Overy is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. His books include Why the Allies Won, Russia's War, The Morbid Age, and The Dictators, which won the Wolfson and the Hessell Tiltman Prizes for history in 2005.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, London, United Kingdom, 2004. Soft Cover. Book Condition: New. No Jacket. Reprint. 162 pages index maps tables notes - The Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill famously remarked, was the "finest hour" of the Royal Air Force, which battled Hitler's Luftwaffe in the skies above England for a few tense weeks. That storied episode, which historian Richard Overy deems a stalemate rather than a decisive triumph, has been layered with legends, one being that the RAF's determined resistance was the key factor in repelling an impending Nazi invasion. It now appears that that was never a real possibility. Another legend was that the RAF was badly outnumbered and outgunned. In fact, as Overy details, the German and British air forces were fairly evenly matched, and the RAF sustained fewer losses than it delivered. Overy's slender, well-written study of the Battle of Britain celebrates the very real accomplishments of the RAF and, its revisionism aside, acknowledges that the Battle of Britain was a true turning point in the history of World War II. Overy holds that one of its most important results was to lead influential Americans to urge that the United States take Britain's side, a fact that would soon be realized. More important, though, the Battle of Britain kept England in the war at a time when many politicians and citizens sought some accommodation with the Nazi regime. It galvanized popular opposition to Hitler, replacing uncertainties and disagreements with "a greater sense of purpose and a more united people.". Bookseller Inventory # 325423

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